Tag Archives: Animal Kingdom

[Review] – Lockout

30 Apr

Title: Lockout
Year: 2012
Directors: James Mather and Stephen St. Leger
Writers: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger and Luc Besson, based on an original idea by Mr. Besson
Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of violence and action, and language including some sexual references
Runtime: 95 min
IMDb Rating: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Metacritic: 48

I like Guy Pearce a good deal. And I like what he’s sort of been doing lately in his career in which he’s taking small-ish supporting roles in amazing films with great ensembles. Whether it’s The Hurt Locker, Animal Kingdom or The King’s Speech, he’s been lending his experience and talent in small key roles and really nailing it. In Lockout, however, he’s front and center as Snow, a man who in a near future has been wrongly convicted of a crime, and who’s only shot at freedom depends on him rescuing the President’s daughter from a maximum security prison in outer space that’s been taken over by inmates.

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Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor and Actress

24 Feb

In my recent Oscar Predictions entry we will discuss two of the most interesting categories at this years Academy Awards, the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Nominees

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

Yeah, Christian Bale has this one all sewn up, in my mind. And rightfully so, the fact that the guy doesn’t have a single prior nomination to his name is a crime, but at least he’ll cash in the gold with his first one, his performance is truly riveting.

However, if The King’s Speech turns the night into a massive sweep then maybe an upset may occur here at the hands of Geoffrey Rush who’s participating with his fourth nomination (he won Lead Actor in 1996), and as amazing a performance as he gives, it’s not as great as Bale’s.

Should Win: Christian Bale
Will Win: Christian Bale

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees

  • Amy Adams (The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
  • Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
  • Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Now this, ladies and gents, is my favorite category of this year’s Oscars. I could potentially see any of these ladies pick up the award. Jacki Weaver I guess is the long-shot among this group, but her performance was electric. Amy Adams, on her third nomination overall and in this category, is my personal pick and was absolutely unbelievable. Helena Bonham Carter may ride the gold wave if The King’s Speech turns the night into a sweep. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, in what was really a leading role, may actually provide the upset. And then there’s the frontrunner, Melissa Leo, who has won this award at most of the precursors. So yeah, five nominees and five worthy winners.

Should Win: Amy Adams
Will Win: Melissa Leo

Oscar Nominations: My Reactions

25 Jan

The Oscar nominations were announced bright and early this morning. And while most of the nominees were predictable, there were still quite a bit of storylines to take out of the morning’s announcements.

Firstly, of course, the outrageous snub of Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category, Inception might have made the Best Picture ballot and Mr. Nolan himself got his second career Screenplay nod, but the Academy yet again failed to mention him for Best Director to make room for the Coen brothers. Another snub was The Town, which ended up with a sole Oscar nomination and got snubbed in the Best Picture as well as Director and Screenplay races, the films nominated instead were still quite deserving, but still, too little love bestowed on such a great film.

Then, on a far more positive note, this was also the year in which films that came out of Sundance came out strong at the Oscars, which is terrific news for the independent film business, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone both got 4 nominations in major races, Animal Kingdom got a Best Supporting Actress bid, and four out of the five Best Documentary nominees were shown in Park City a year ago.

As for what the nominations will mean come the big night on February 27th, well, The King’s Speech certainly got a huge boost today, scoring an even dozen nominations, the most out of any film this year. That has some people jumping from The Social Network‘s bandwagon into the one driven by Harvey Weinstein, since for the last several decades the movie with the most nominations has won the Best Picture race 75% of the time. Now, let’s play statistics for a while here, I actually still think The Social Network will still win this for now, but the stock on The King’s Speech has certainly risen in the last few weeks. First, of course, was Saturday’s PGA win, and considering that association has bestowed its award to the eventual Best Picture winner 13 out of the last 20 years it means it has the odds going for it.

But then again, lets not forget just how much The Social Network has going for itself, it pretty much swooped the Critic’s groups awards, including big wins at the Globes and the National Board of Review. Not to mention that David Fincher is the clear front-runner to win not only the Best Director Oscar, but the DGA honors that will be announced on Saturday. And really, the Best Director winner is always considered the likely victor of the big race and, in fact, the winner of the DGA award has actually went on to have their film win the Best Picture Oscar 33 times in the last 40 years.

So, who really has the advantage? I honestly don’t know, this really is one seriously tough race to call, and I won’t call it until all the remained precursors are done with. Yes, the DGA will most likely go to The Social Network, but then the BAFTAs will presumably be all over The King’s Speech considering it’s a home-grown film. The PGA win by Tom Hooper’s film was big, yes, but so were the many Critic’s Associations and Globes wins by David Fincher’s movie. So, if I may interject, I think that the one awards show that may be a big indicator as to what will happen on Oscar night will be the SAGs, taking place this coming Sunday.

Hear me out for a while, the SAG obviously doesn’t have a Best Picture award, but rather a Best Ensemble one, meaning it will honor the combined acting performances of the cast in a film. And while I still think that the front-runner for that one is The Fighter (which has four seriously spectacular performances), I can see an upset happening courtesy of The King’s Speech. The Social Network won’t win that one, it has some great performances but it can’t compete acting-wise with those two other films, so that race will be the one to prove just how much support The King’s Speech has. And if it wins that one, then I probably will update my predictions and consider it the front-runner for the Oscar, because, remember, the SAGs have many times served as indicators of Oscar upsets, I’m obviously referring to 1998, when the SAG went to Shakespeare in Love, the same film that went on to win the Best Picture Oscar over the clear favorite, Saving Private Ryan, and most recently in 2005, when Crash ended up with the SAG win and ended up upsetting Brokeback Mountain for the Academy’s top honor.

So yes, this will be a Best Picture race for the ages, one I’m really excited for and one that will come down to the very end. Will The King’s Speech end up with the win? Consolidating itself as the biggest Oscar bait there ever was in 2010, a biopic about British monarchy counting with excellent performances all around and a spectacular director working form a brilliant script. Or, will The Social Network prevail? The film with very young up-and-coming actors, directed by a director that started out working on music videos and then went on to create some of the most masterful and popular films of the last decade and a half, one about a modern phenomenon and full of quick-witted, very fast and talkative scenes. It will be a New School vs. Old School battle to the very end, the historical dramas have fared very well in the past, I’m thinking Gandhi or The English Patient, but as of late, with winners like The Hurt Locker and No Country for Old Men, it feels as though the Academy is skewing more towards films oriented to younger audiences with a more gritty sort of feel. We’re in for one very entertaining race to the finish line.

But enough about the big race, I’m sure we’ll talk much more about that in the near future, but for now let us revise all the nominations announced by the Academy today.

BEST PICTURE

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

All the usual suspects here. I went 9 for 10 as far as my predictions go, considering Winter’s Bone felt the love from the Academy big time today and crept into the big party, throwing out my original prediction for the tenth slot: The Town. Again, as for who will actually win it, I have no idea, it’s a big split between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, and we’ll have a clearer idea of the state of the race once the remaining precursors are all said and done.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Darren Aronofsky (for Black Swan)
  • Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (for True Grit)
  • David Fincher (for The Social Network)
  • Tom Hooper (for The King’s Speech)
  • David O. Russell (for The Fighter)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, considering I predicted the horribly snubbed Christopher Nolan to be invited to the party instead of the Coen brothers. However, True Grit got a massive ten nominations and the love went to the genius brothers instead. Which was well deserved, but it’s ridiculous that Nolan doesn’t have a Best Director nomination to his name yet. However, massive kudos to Darren Aronofsky for finally getting his first career nomination for helming what to me was the best film of 2010.

BEST LEAD ACTOR

  • Javier Bardem (for Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (for True Grit)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)
  • Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)
  • James Franco (for 127 Hours)

Went a perfect 5-for-5 in this race, correctly predicting Javier Bardem’s nomination over Get Low‘s Robert Duvall. Still, Bardem’s nomination was much deserved, and it was awesome to see a foreign language performance getting a nod here. However, this has never been a race, the golden man probably has Colin Firth’s name engraved from this very moment.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

  • Annette Bening (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Nicole Kidman (for Rabbit Hole)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Natalie Portman (for Black Swan)
  • Michelle Williams (for Blue Valentine)

Another category in which I went 5-for-5 in my predictions. And it really is a lovely bunch of ladies getting nominated here, Michelle Williams got her extremely deserved nomination for her beautiful work in Blue Valentine and Jennifer Lawrence capped off her breakthrough year with an invite to Hollywood’s biggest party. This is, though, still a Portman vs. Bening battle, and even though I think Portman has the edge because hers was the better performance in the better film, I’ll wait until the SAGs are done on Sunday to call her a lock.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

I predicted four out of the five here, the one I got wrong was Andrew Garfield who I thought would firmly land a nod but was bumped off by John Hawkes who was riding on the huge love given to Winter’s Bone here. Still, this is no contest, it’s Bale’s to lose, and he just won’t.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams (for The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (for The King’s Speech)
  • Melissa Leo (for The Fighter)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (for True Grit)
  • Jacki Weaver (for Animal Kingdom)

I’ve always said this was my favorite race of the year, and even though my personal #2 pick, Mila Kunis, was left out, it really still is. I said that if Hailee Steinfeld remained here and wasn’t voted as Lead, then either Ms. Kunis or Jacki Weaver would get the boot, I picked Kunis in my predictions but apparently the Academy really loved the Australian crime saga and wanted to give it a nod, as they should have, really. Still, this is the best race there can be this year, considering I could see any of these ladies potentially winning. Amy Adams was my personal favorite of the year, and she gives her best performance yet, and considering it’s her third nomination they may (and hopefully will!) give it to her. Helena Bonham Carter may find herself winning if The King’s Speech sweeps. Melissa Leo is the current favorite, and if she wins the SAG on Sunday then this will be hers. Hailee Steinfeld carries True Grit and the voters may like to reward a young one. And Jacki Weaver created one seriously compelling character here, though considering she missed out at the SAG I think she’s the less likely to end up winning.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Another Year (written by Mike Leigh)
  • The Fighter (written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson)
  • Inception (written by Christopher Nolan)
  • The Kids Are All Right (written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg)
  • The King’s Speech (written by David Seidler)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, and the one I missed was the one that pains me the most not to see here which was the beautiful Black Swan screenplay, which I had in favor of Another Year, but I guess you can never count Mike Leigh out of this race, he’s just that good. As for who will win it, I would very much like to see The Kids Are All Right pick this one up, or if not then Christopher Nolan as a sort of apology from the Academy for not even nominating him for Best Director. But, most likely, this one will end up firmly in the hands of David Seidler.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • 127 Hours (written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, based on the book by Aron Ralston)
  • The Social Network (written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Ben Mezrich)
  • Toy Story 3 (written by Michael Arndt, based on the story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
  • True Grit (written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis)
  • Winter’s Bone (written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell)

As I said in my predictions, Winter’s Bone was going to put up a fight to be honored in this category. In my predictions I had The Town listed instead of Debra Granik’s film, but, as I’ve already said, the Academy shout-out the Ben Affleck film outside of Jeremy Renner’s nod, so no love here either. I like Debra Granik’s script better though (had it 6th in my Best Screenplays of 2010 list, while The Town was 15th), so I’m happy about it. Still, there’s no way Aaron Sorkin is losing this one, but then again I said the same thing about Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s script for Up in the Air last year.

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Inception
  • True Grit
  • The King’s Speech

Very very good bunch of nominees here, the only film I could have seen making the cut and still be happy about it would have been Shutter Island, but nevertheless, this will be a very cool race. I’m hoping Inception will prevail here, though Alice in Wonderland may have something to say about that and, if it turns out to be a sweep, so may The King’s Speech.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

If I would have to guess, I’d say True Grit will win this one. However, it was amazing to see Black Swan get listed here, though I would have liked to see The King’s Speech miss out on this race in favor of the wonderful job by the 127 Hours guys.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Io Sono l’Amore
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Tempest
  • True Grit

As I said in my review for The Tempest, you can never count any Julie Taymor film out of the Best Costume Design race (all four of her films have now been nominated), but still, this one will most likely go to Alice in Wonderland. Cool to see Io Sono l’Amore get a nod here, too.

BEST EDITING

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

Out of the technical categories, Best Editing is the one that foretells the Best Picture winner the most, so this one is one we should pay close attention to. Since the award was introduced nearly eight decades ago, only nine films have won Best Picture without being nominated here. Which I guess also goes to explain why Crash trumped over Brokeback Mountain. But still, the two Best Picture front-runners are here, so seeing who wins may be decisive as to who takes Best Picture. My vote goes to The Social Network here, and I still can’t fathom why Inception wasn’t named.

BEST MAKEUP

  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

They failed to recognize Alice in Wonderland in this one somehow, so I’m guessing this one’s definitely The Wolfman‘s.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • 127 Hours (composed by A.R. Rahman)
  • Inception (composed by Hans Zimmer)
  • The Social Network (composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
  • The King’s Speech (composed by Alexandre Desplat)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (composed by John Powell)

Usual suspects in this one. Awesome to see Reznor and Ross up for this one, and they’re definitely my favorites to end up picking the award. However, Alexandre Desplat gets his fourth nomination with this one and still hasn’t won, so if The King’s Speech ends up owning the show he could win. However, Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception, which is all sorts of mind-blowing, may end up getting the win if the Academy feels it didn’t bestow enough nominations love towards the film, he hasn’t won an Oscar since The Lion King in 1995, despite being nominated 6 additional times since.

BEST SONG

  • If I Rise (from 127 Hours)
  • Coming Home (from Country Strong)
  • I See the Light (from Tangled)
  • We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3)

I honestly don’t know who will end up with the win here. All I know is that I’m happy no songs from Burlesque were named here.

BEST SOUND

  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

This is the one category that had most prediction experts baffled. Everyone predicted a maximum of 11 nominations for The King’s Speech, and this is the one nobody imagined, and the one that showed us just how much the Academy loved the film. As strange as it may sound, a Sound nomination is what really let us know that it was the front-runner.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • TRON: Legacy
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable

I really liked seeing TRON: Legacy here, and I was sure that The Social Network would get a nod here, but out of nowhere came Unstoppable and made the cut. Still, a cool and eclectic bunch.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2

I expected TRON: Legacy to make the cut here, but at least it got a Sound Editing nod so it didn’t go unmentioned. Still, if Inception loses this race the Oscars will have lost all credibility to me.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Biutiful (from Mexico)
  • Dogtooth (from Greece)
  • In a Better World (from Denmark)
  • Incendies (from Canada)
  • Outside the Law (from Algeria)

This one’s always very tough to predict. But hopefully Biutiful will end up with the trophy.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • L’Illusionniste
  • Toy Story 3

This one isn’t a race at all, Toy Story 3 will win this one hands down.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Inside Job
  • Gasland
  • Waste Land
  • Restrepo

No Waiting for Superman? Yeah, very very weird. Same with the lack of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. Still Inside Job would be a very cool winner, as would be Exit Through the Gift Shop, especially if we somehow get a Banksy appearance.

OscarWatch: Best Picture

24 Jan

Since the Academy Award nominations will be announced bright and early Tuesday morning (!) I thought I’d do seven OscarWatch posts for the main races: Screenplay (encompassing both Original and Adapted), Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Director and Picture.

In them I’ll detail my thoughts on the given race and how I think things are starting to shape up considering we have now seen most of the precursor awards and count with BAFTA and SAG nominations. I’ll give my personal Top 20, with a brief paragraph on each, for any given race and detail which I think will be the nominees for the Oscars come Tuesday. And in the very final pre-nominations OscarWatch post we’ll of course tackle…

Best Picture

I’ll give my Top 20 picks for the best films in all of 2010, my brief thoughts on each and then I’ll say how I think the Oscar nominations for the category will look once they’re announced on Tuesday.

As for the state of the race, well, it’s a two-way race here. The precursors gave huge momentum to The Social Network, as did its win and mini-sweep at the Globes last week. However, yesterday The King’s Speech won the Producers Guild Award, and considering it will most certainly win the BAFTA, and will have a very decent shot at the Best Ensemble SAG award this really is a two-horse race, and a very very entertaining one at that.

Personal Top 20

  1. Black Swan – My favorite film of the year by heaps and bounds, a true masterpiece, directed by one of Hollywood’s most ambitious and perfectionists minds, featuring a handful of exceptional performances and just nailing every single frame.This is intense and passionate filmamaking at its very best, and were it up to me it would win absolutely everything.
  2. The Social Network – This is being heralded as the film of a generation. And as huge a statement as that may seem, it’s really kinda sorta on the money. A film about the phenomenon that’s consuming huge amounts of time of our lives, directed to perfection by a guy who can’t seem to do a bad thing and who started directing music videos, bolstering sensational performances by a cast full of up and coming actors, and with a script full of words and witty remarks. This really is the film of a generation.
  3. Inception This was the popcorn film that was actually stimulating, the smartest film of the year directed by the visionary we have all embraced like crazy into our lives. This was the one everyone talked about even months after its release, the one that when released on home video showed us just how awesome a blu-ray can really be, the one that had some seriously amazing performances and a very emotional story in the midst of all its visual spectacle. True innovative filmmaking.
  4. Blue Valentine The rawest, most emotional film experience I had in all last year. Bolstered by two pitch-perfect performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, this film showed how quick love can start, and how quick it can all end. It’s portrayal of a crumbling marriage is a very powerful thing to watch, the actors putting everything on the line, masterful stuff all around.
  5. The Kids Are All Right – This one has superb performances around the board, and tells a very contemporary story about family which we can all relate to in one way or another. Beautifully written, directed and acted, The Kids Are All Right was one of the best films of year just because of that, but it became even better when you realized just how much the writers knew their wine.
  6. Somewhere – Sofia Coppola’s back at it again, coming back to the stuff she’s comfortable with, and directing a quiet and gorgeous film. One which takes quite a bit from her own experiences as the daughter of a big star, and has her exploring celebrity like few directors can.
  7. Never Let Me Go – And I’ll say it one final time in these OscarWatch posts, this was, to me, the most underappreciated film of 2010 by a fair amount. Capturing the style and essence of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel it was based on was going to be a tough task for anyone to accomplish, and yet Mark Romanek did so splendidly, directing Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley to beautiful performances.
  8. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – A truly original film, one that captures to perfection the style and flair of the graphic novels I love so much and that found in Edgar Wright the perfect director to convey the precious little life of Scott Pilgrim, and in Michael Cera the perfect guy to bring the character to life. This one goes by really fast, with its stunning visuals and cool one-liners, and every last second of it is pure bliss.
  9. Toy Story 3 There hasn’t been an official confirmation that this will be the last Toy Story film. But if it is, it’s probably the most graceful conclusion to any trilogy ever, coming full circle, full of memorable moments, of huge laughs, of meaningful tears. A beautiful film that ranks amongst Pixar’s best.
  10. 127 Hours A really powerful film, this one is. James Franco delivering the best performance of his career for director Danny Boyle, who entrusted him with portraying Aron Ralston, the real life man who was trapped when a boulder crashed his arm in a Utah canyon. The result is really breathtaking, with a stunning performance by Mr. Franco, sharp directing and writing by Mr. Boyle and some really gorgeous cinematography.
  11. True Grit – The Coen brothers are at it again with True Grit, continuing the ridiculous string of stunning films. They also have a wonderful cast full of amazing veterans in Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin and found in Hailee Steinfeld one of 2010’s coolest new stars, who clearly has a very bright future in front of her. If you liked Intolerable Cruelty, and manage to ignore that underwhelming The Ladykillers then you just might say the have a perfect body of work.
  12. Winter’s Bone – Debra Granik creates a very bleak and somber atmosphere for her film about the Ozarks, and found in Jennifer Lawrence the perfect actress to bring Ree to life, and carry and bring a speck of hope to the film. This is a real starmaking turn from her, and what lies in her future is just amazing to think about.
  13. The Town – The film that proved to us that Ben Affleck really is a fantastic director. A film that was extremely entertaining and full of spot-on performances by a cast that included Mr. Affleck himself, as well as Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Pete Postlethwaite, Blake Lively and Chris Cooper.
  14. The King’s Speech – If you exclude Black Swan this is the best-acted film of all 2010, the sort of thing you can write “Oscar bait” on, everyone delivering some truly masterful performances, directed by Tom Hooper from a fantastic script. If Black Swan was a very polarizing film, this is one I cannot see anyone not really falling in love with, if anything just because of how amazing Colin Firth is in it.
  15. The Fighter – Yes, this is another rather predictable boxing film, but the real-life story and people in it make it a very very compelling family tale. This is not a boxing film with a human story in it, but a human story with boxing in it. The performances here are just amazing, with Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg all doing wonders with their characters.
  16. Let Me In – The fact that this film ended up being nearly as perfect as the original Swedish one is the biggest compliment one could give it. This is the perfect definition of a good remake, one that never once tries to lose the essence of the original, but that adds enough spice of its own to separate itself from it in order to be judged on its own.
  17. Greenberg – Noah Baumbach yet again delivers a darkly comic script and amazing directing chops to a small little film that deals with the intricacies of an offbeat character. That character is played by Ben Stiller in what might be the performance of his career, a nuanced portrayal that was perfect in all the best ways. Not to mention that it was also the film that introduced us to Greta Gerwig, and she’s all sorts of lovely.
  18. Kick-Ass – A very fun film to watch, one that honors its graphic novel roots, isn’t afraid to show a cursing thirteen-year-old or hugely graphic and gnarly violence. This really is a treat for the eyes, one that has Nicolas Cage in full-on spectacle mode being awesome, and in Chloë Moretz one of the best finds of the year.
  19. Animal Kingdom – The stunning portrayal of the Australian criminal underground world. The performances here are just stunning to watch develop, the script is really clever and the film is just intensely plotted and structured to deliver a really thrilling ride.
  20. Biutiful – This is a very powerful film, one that’s many times hard to watch, but one that’s extremely rewarding to watch as well. Bursting to life by a beautifully raw performance by Javier Bardem and confident filmmaking by Alejandro González Iñárritu, it’s strong stuff, but compelling, too, and one that will have you leaving the theater and really thinking deep about what you just saw.

How I Think the Oscar Nominations Will Look Like (in alphabetical order)

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The Fighter
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • The Town
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit

The Town and 127 Hours are the wildcards for me here. The other 8 I think are guaranteed to score an invite to the big race. I named both The Town and 127 Hours as hypothetical candidates, but I could actually see either one of them being bumped off the shortlist in favor of Winter’s Bone, we shall wait and see what happens Tuesday morning.

Golden Globe Predictions

13 Jan

I still have four reviews left to do on 2010 films (namely: Blue Valentine, Biutiful, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and Country Strong), but I’ve now seen all of the 2010 films I intend to see (210 in total) and thought that since I probably won’t do all four of those reviews in one swoop before the weekend I should do a post about my predictions for the Golden Globes, which are taking place this Sunday.

I’ll outline each category, list the nominees, do a brief parragraph about the state of the race and then pick the one I think is going to win, and the one I’d pick to win were the Globes up to me. And since I’m also an avid TV-watcher I’ll weigh in on those race, too.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

State of the Race

Much like at the Oscar’s, one would think the big race is going to come down between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, and in all likelihood that’s what’s gonna happen at the Globes, too. However, don’t count The Fighter out of this one just yet, as it may ultimately deliver a huge upset and further establish itself as a real threat to the aforementioned two-pack come Oscar time, this is, after all, the same organisation that went with Babel in 2007, and with Atonement a year after that.

Who I Think Will Win

I’m guessing The Social Network here. It has pretty much swept through the precursor awards, and unless something bizarre happens then the Globe should be another trophy for its crowded mantelpiece, and a big stepping stone for the Oscar.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

If I ran the Globes then I would give the award to Black Swan, no questions asked. This to me was, far an out, the best film in all of 2010 and a true modern masterpiece.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Halle Berry for Frankie and Alice
  • Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman for Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine

State of the Race

Portman is thought to be a lock to win this one, and with good reason, she gives the best performance of her career in what, to me, was the best movie of the year, so she should no doubt get her second Globe (she has already won for Closer) and further cement herself as the leader of the pack come Oscar time. However, the Globes absolutely LOVE Nicole Kidman, having already bestowed three of their awards to her (To Die For in ’96, Moulin Rouge! in ’02 and The Hours in ’03) so that upset wouldn’t be that crazy.

Who I Think Will Win

Though the Kidman upset is something I could see happening this really is Portman’s to lose, and I don’t think she will.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

As I said, Ms. Portman delivers the best performance of her career in the best film of the year, so this should no doubt go to her. However, if by some reason she finds herself losing the award to Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine then I actually won’t be that pissed.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
  • Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
  • James Franco for 127 Hours
  • Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine
  • Mark Wahlberg for The Fighter

State of the Race

Look, the Best Actor race, in the Globes, or the SAGs, or the Oscars or in any other precursor award is not really a race at all. If you’ve seen The King’s Speech then you know what I mean, Colin Firth gives a masterclass in acting in that movie, and he won’t find himself losing any of the big ones. If I had to pick a threat to his throne I’d say Jesse Eisenberg or James Franco, but I really don’t see that happening.

Who I Think Will Win

Colin Firth, no questions asked. The man has had an illustrious career, and here he tops himself delivering a truly unbelievable performance that should easily grant him his first Globe.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Much like in the Best Actress race, I’ll say there’s no way I wouldn’t give it to Mr. Firth. However, if he should lose to Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine, then I won’t be so pissed.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Burlesque
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • Red
  • The Tourist

State of the Race

This was the race that caused the most outrage when the nominations were announced. The quality of the films here, with the exception of the sublime The Kids Are All Right, is truly abysmal. Personally even, the grades I gave to the films are all over the place Alice in Wonderland got a B from me, Burlesque a C+, The Kids Are All Right an A+, Red a B and The Tourist a C+. Considering slots could have been filled with much worthier nominees such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Greenberg, Easy A, Cyrus or Love and Other Drugs this is really shameful.

Who I Think Will Win

The Kids Are All Right will probably be an eventual Best Picture nominee at the Oscars, as well as player in some of the other big races, while the other films won’t even in any sort of contention for any major awards at the Oscars. So yes, it’s The Kids Are All Right all the way here. Though considering the Globes were stupid enough to nominate this bunch of films an upset could somehow happen.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

As I said, I gave The Kids Are All Right an A+, while no other nominee got even a B+. Enough said.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
  • Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs
  • Angelina Jolie for The Tourist
  • Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right
  • Emma Stone for Easy A

State of the Race

With the exception of Angelina Jolie this race did have some worthy nominees. But considering the Best Actress race at the Oscars is thought to be a battle between Natalie Portman and Ms. Bening and the former isn’t in this race then I’d say the latter has this one in the bag.

Who I Think Will Win

Annette Bening, hands down. And I really don’t see any of the other nominees delivering an upset.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

And, again, Annette Bening, no question.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland
  • Johnny Depp for The Tourist
  • Paul Giamatti for Barney’s Vision
  • Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs
  • Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack

State of the Race

This is another race I really don’t understand. The HFPA obviously loves Johnny Depp (as we all do) but a single nomination would have done, especially considering that The Tourist was horrible and that nod could have gone to a much more deserving Ben Stiller for Greenberg.

Who I Think Will Win

If the HFPA loved him enough to nominate him twice for two sub-par performances considering what he’s done in the past, then I’d say they’ll love him enough again to actually give him the damned award for Alice in Wonderland.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I actually haven’t seen Barney’s Vision yet, but my guess is that Paul Giamatti would be a deserving winner. My pick, however, would most certainly be Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs, a film I thought was rather underappreciated.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Amy Adams for The Fighter
  • Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech
  • Mila Kunis for Black Swan
  • Melissa Leo for The Fighter
  • Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom

State of the Race

The Best Supporting Actress race to me has been by far the toughest one to call throughout the whole season, as it’s full of equally deserving and amazing performances. I could genuinely see any of these five ladies winning the Globe and thinking they earned it. Just a very very tough one to call.

Who I Think Will Win

My guess is that it’ll come down between the two ladies of The Fighter. And with good reason since they’re both unbelievable in it. Melissa Leo has the flashier role and is loved by everyone in Hollywood, so she’d be the more conventional pick. But I’m biased towards Ms. Adams because I love her and actually thought she was better in it, so I’ll go ahead and bet on her.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

As I just said, Amy Adams I thought was amazing in The Fighter, but if I had to power to pick whichever one I wanted I probably would have to go with Mila Kunis, just because in a dream world Black Swan would sweep with everything.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Christian Bale for The Fighter
  • Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  • Andrew Garfield for The Social Network
  • Jeremy Renner for The Town
  • Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech

State of the Race

The usual suspects here, and my guess is that at least four of them will repeat with an Oscar nomination. Michael Douglas is the one I think may not get an Oscar nomination, in favor of probably Mark Ruffalo or John Hawkes, but he got in with the Globes because they adore him. Though the race was once thought to be a head-to-head between Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush the latest precursors have cemented Mr. Bale as the clear leader in the race.

Who I Think Will Win

Christian Bale should win this one easily, his was a knockout performance and I don’t see even Mr. Rush beating him. However, as I said, the HFPA loves Michael Douglas, and considering how much he’s gone through lately a win from him here wouldn’t be that out of the blue, though ultimately it’s still quite unlikely.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I guess I’d give it to Bale, as well. Not only because his performance was terrific but because he’s due some recognition for his work, which he really hasn’t gotten in the past. Though a part of me would love to see Andrew Garfield winning this one.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Nominees

  • Despicable Me
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • L’Illusionniste
  • Tangled
  • Toy Story 3

State of the Race

The state of the race with the Animated Film category is that it’s never really been a race. Toy Story 3 had this one in the bag the second it came out.

Who I Think Will Win

Again, this isn’t even a question. Toy Story 3.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

These are actually all very good animated films, but none comes close to achieve what the geniuses at Pixar did with Toy Story 3.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Nominees

  • Biutiful from Mexico and Spain
  • Le Concert from France
  • The Edge from Russia
  • Io Sono l’Amore from Italy
  • In a Better World from Denmark

State of the Race

To be honest I haven’t seen neither The Edge nor In a Better World, so I can’t really comment fairly in this race. However, Biutiful was such a knockout film to me, that I can’t see it losing. Though I0 Sono l’Amore would also be a worthy adversary.

Who I Think Will Win

I’m hoping Biutiful. However, maybe the film was a bit too tough and raw for voters to see in its entirety, or at all, and that may sway them in another direction.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Biutiful. One of the most powerful films to have come out in all 2010.

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
  • David Fincher for The Social Network
  • Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
  • Christopher Nolan for Inception
  • David O. Russell for The Fighter

State of the Race

The Best Director race seems to be a six-way race, with Joel & Ethan Coen for True Grit trying to get into the race (most likely at the expense of David O. Russell), they failed to get in here and with the DGA, so I’m guessing they may also miss out at the Oscars, though you never know with those two geniuses.

Who I Think Will Win

I really can’t see a scenario in which Fincher doesn’t leave with the Globe firmly in his hands.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Again, I’m biased as hell because I think Black Swan was the best film of the year by a mile, so I’ll say Aronofsky. Though Fincher is equally deserving.

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle for 127 Hours
  • Christopher Nolan for Inception
  • Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko for The Kids Are All Right
  • David Seidler for The King’s Speech
  • Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network

State of the Race

This one also isn’t that much of a race, it’s Aaron Sorkin’s to lose. And he just won’t.

Who I Think Will Win

Mr. Sorkin has this one in the bag.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’m a lover fast dialogue and witty remarks, and as such there’s no way I wouldn’t give it to Aaron Sorkin.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE

Nominees

  • Alexandre Desplat for The King’s Speech
  • Danny Elfman for Alice in Wonderland
  • A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network
  • Hans Zimmer for Inception

State of the Race

This one’s a pretty damn competitive race. Desplat, Zimmer and the Reznor and Ross collaboration all seem to have pretty good odds to me.

Who I Think Will Win

Again, I could potentially see all three of the ones I named above coming out winners, but if I had to guess I’d say that Hans Zimmer is the most likely to win for his fantastic score for Inception and pick up his third career Globe.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Personally the score I loved the most was the one Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross created for The Social Network, so that’s definitely my pick. Not only that, but seeing Trent Reznor win a Globe and make a speech would be the icing on the cake.

Now over to the TV categories—

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Dexter
  • The Good Wife
  • Mad Men
  • The Walking Dead

State of the Race

Two rookie series making the shortlist, with Boardwalk Empire being a predictable entry and The Walking Dead being a much more surprising freshman nominee. Good stuff.

Who I Think Will Win

Mad Men hasn’t lost this category before, and my guess is that they’ll make it four in a row here, as they rightfully should. Though I could actually see an upset at the hands of Boardwalk Empire happening.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Out of the five nominees Mad Men to me is by far the best series, so I would give it to them, no doubt.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Julianna Marguiles for The Good Wife
  • Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men
  • Piper Perabo for Covert Affairs
  • Katey Sagal for Sons of Anarchy
  • Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer

State of the Race

The usual choices in Marguiles, Moss and Segdwick. And then we have two more surprising picks in Sagal and Perabo. I was extremely happy to see Sagal nominated, since I think she’s riveting in Sons of Anarchy. As for Ms. Perabo, on the other, I’m not entirely sure what the HFPA was thinking with that nomination. Granted, I’ve only seen two episodes of Covert Affairs in my life, but unless Ms. Perabo seriously stepped up her game on the ones I haven’t seen I can’t really get the nomination.

Who I Think Will Win

I could see Ms. Sedgwick winning this one, but my guess is that the HFPA will go with Julianna Marguiles for her fantastic work in The Good Wife.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’m a huge fan of The Good Wife, so for me it’s Julianna Marguiles for sure. Though Elisabeth Moss I’d like seeing winning this one, too.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

Nominees

  • Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire
  • Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad
  • Michael C. Hall for Dexter
  • Jon Hamm for Mad Men
  • Hugh Laurie for House

State of the Race

Very solid picks here, with Steve Buscemi breaking into the pack for his amazing job in Boardwalk Empire’s first season, and Bryan Cranston finally getting in for his masterful job in Breaking Bad.

Who I Think Will Win

Bryan Cranston hasn’t lost at the Emmy’s for his performance in Breaking Bad so far, winning three times in a row, and yet the Globes hadn’t even nominated before, which I’m taking as a sign that they don’t love him as much. And because of that I’ll go ahead and say that Jon Hamm will pick up his second Globe for portraying Don Draper come Sunday. Though an upset at the hands of Buscemi is something I could see happening.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Were it up to me I would no doubt give it to Cranston, no other nominee comes close to his level of acting in Breaking Bad.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • 30 Rock
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Big C
  • Glee
  • Modern Family
  • Nurse Jackie

State of the Race

Usual suspects here, too. Though I thought it was nice to see The Big C break into the race (most likely at the expense of The Office), however, as we saw last year, this race will probably come down to a fight between the two sophomore series: Modern Family and last year’s winner, Glee.

Who I Think Will Win

They rewarded Glee last year for it’s breakout first season, and while it’s having a very strong sophomore showing I’m hoping the HFPA will be smarter this time around and give the trophy to Modern Family.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’d give it to Modern Family. I was kind pissed it didn’t win last year so this one would be deserving.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Toni Collette for United State of Tara
  • Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie
  • Tiny Fey for 30 Rock
  • Laura Linney for The Big C
  • Lea Michele for Glee

State of the Race

Pretty predictable stuff here, with Laura Linney being the only newcomer in comparison to a year ago, replacing Cougar Town’s Courtney Cox. And to be honest, she’ll probably win it.

Who I Think Will Win

I loved Laura Linney in The Big C, I thought she did some really fine acting and the Globe should be hers, no problem.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I’d get a knife and cut the Globe in two, give one half to Ms. Linney and the other to Ms. Fey.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Nominees

  • Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock
  • Steve Carell for The Office
  • Thomas Jane for Hung
  • Matthew Morrison for Glee
  • Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory

State of the Race

Compared to last year, David Duchovny was exchanged for Emmy-winner Jim Parsons. And that’s a good thing, considering I have a feeling that Mr. Parsons may just win the Globe, too.

Who I Think Will Win

As I just said, I’m guessing Mr. Parsons will follow his Emmy victory with a much deserved win at the Globes. But then again, you really can’t ever count Alec Baldwin out. And, to be honest, I could also see a Matthew Morrison victory here, though I really wouldn’t like that one bit.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Jim Parsons all the way.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Nominees

  • Hope Davis for The Special Relationship
  • Jane Lynch for Glee
  • Kelly MacDonald for Boardwalk Empire
  • Julia Stiles for Dexter
  • Sofia Vergara for Modern Family

State of the Race

Good stuff all around here, a varied pool of nominees who all have done terrific jobs.

Who I Think Will Win

I guess it’s common knowledge that Jane Lynch will be the favorite to win this one so long as she’s playing Sue Sylvester. But I have a hunch that my personal favorite, Kelly MacDonald, may be able to pull off an upset.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

Kelly MacDonald. Steve Buscemi may get the beefiest scenes to showcase his talents in Boardwalk Empire, but Ms. MacDonald is as much of a reason for my continued viewing of the superb HBO series.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Nominees

  • Scott Cann for Hawaii Five-0
  • Chris Colfer for Glee
  • Chris Noth for The Good Wife
  • Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family
  • David Strathairn for Temple Grandin

State of the Race

There’s not a single repeat nominee from last year, in which John Lithgow won for his stellar turn in Dexter, so that’s pretty interesting. Kudos to the HFPA for rewarding Mr. Caan with a nod, he’s the main reason why the reinvented Hawaii Five-0 is so good right now.

Who I Think Will Win

I would think Chris Colfer has the better shot at the trophy here.

Who I Would Give the Globe To

I wouldn’t mind seeing Mr. Colfer pick up the Globe here, as he’s really terrific in his dramatic scenes on Glee. Though Eric Stonestreet would also be a very welcome winner.

And that’s it for my Globe predictions. I realize it’s a horrible lenghty post, and I’m fearing it’ll all look bad and too long when displayed in the site, but I just thought I’d share my thoughts before the ceremony on Sunday. Next year I’ll give the predictions in bits and pieces and not in just one 3750+ word entry.

Animal Kingdom

28 Nov

Title: Animal Kingdom
Year:
2010
Director:
David Michôd
Writer:
David Michôd
Starring:
Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville, Dan Wyllie, Anthony Hayes
MPAA Rating:
R, violence, drug content and pervasive language
Runtime:
113 min
Major Awards:
1 NBR Award
IMDb Rating:
7.7
Rotten Tomatoes:
96%

I saw Animal Kingdom already having heard it was superb, and I was still amazed at just how great a film it ultimately was, and I can’t help but envy those who saw the film with no such great expectations and came out with their minds blown. Because this really is an amazing film, one that is tightly scripted and that has an unbelievably good cast all around, and that may well just be the best Australian film ever made.

This is one the most compelling films I have seen all year, one that gets under your skin and will hold you by the throat throughout its entirety. The film deals with a family in Melbourne that’s part of the city’s crime underworld, and it’s a very dark film, a very gritty film that counts with performances so perfect that you’ll fall in love with just how good it is. The fact that this is David Michôd’s first feature film directorial effort is astounding, the talent he shows here, in a film he also wrote, is terrific. He crafts a movie that has this very realistic feel to it, both in what it shows and in the naturalistic performances it boosts, one that’s dense and patient and, most importantly, one that’s plain out great.

The title of this film is also great, I loved the metaphor it presented, because the world Mr. Michôd presents is indeed a wild one, one with a definite hierarchy and one in which anything goes. The film actually opens with shots of lions, imagery for the family we’re about to meet, in which drug dealing and armed robbery are commonplace and in which they make their own law. We hear the story from the perspective of J. Cody, who narrates this to us years after the story took place, he’s the one part of the family that’s not so much into the family’s business, and he is thrown into the midst of it all when his mother dies from an overdose and he’s sent to live with his grandmother Smurf and her three sons, Pope, Darren and Craig.

Smurf Cody is played by Jacki Weaver, and this is the MVP performance out of a film full of stand-outs and Ms. Weaver is being mentioned alongside Melissa Leo and Helena Bonham Carter as one of the front-runners for the Best Supporting Actress race this awards season, as well as she should be, she’s seriously riveting here. Smurf is the mama lion of this dangerous clan, and she’s a very polarizing character, she’s very loving towards her sociopathic sons, perhaps a bit too loving, and yet there’s something in her blue-eyed stare that pretty much assures your mind that she’s the worst one of them all. And that’s saying something considering her sons, the eldest is Pope, a drug-addled crazy man who’s the leader of the three brothers; then comes Craig a coke dealer and user; and finally the youngest one, Darren, who’s Smurf’s favorite and, as usual considering he’s the youngest one, the one that gets crap from his brothers and does their bidding.

This is a film with an amazing mood, one that fills you up as you watch it and keeps you totally enthralled for its duration. The bad blood between the family and the cops is amazing to watch develop on this story, and it all goes nicely along with the evolution of J. as the brothers try to initiate him into the family business, which goes against his own ideals. This one starts building up slowly, adding dense layer after layer to the film’s plot and by the time the first half’s over it’s already cooked up a boiling sense of thrills and tension that’s what makes this film so wonderful.

You get to see the three brothers starting to fear for themselves because of what they’ve gotten into as the police comes into the picture more noticeably, led by sergeant Nathan Leckie, played by Guy Pearce, who’s been in a fair share of good Australian movies and is an actor I really like. Sergeant Leckie is just a cold-ass motherfucker, to put it lightly, apparently the only moral person in the very unmoral town he protects, and the scenes in which he’s seen interrogating J. are seriously awesome to watch unravel. This is a very dark tale that Mr. Michôd decides to tell, but the way in which he tells it is stunning, the film is gripping from beginning to end, a genre film executed to the highest of levels with a man with serious promise in the film industry and cast filled with the best talent his home country has to offer.

I don’t really know if there was a single thing I didn’t like about Animal Kindgom, the film just completely wrapped me up with the amazing mood it set, the cinematography, the lighting, and especially the music, everything goes on to make a seriously amazing experience out of this Australian gem. I guess one could potentially find fault with the ending, the most vital part of it never actually being shown to us, but even though that’s the case, this one didn’t feel any less complete to me.

And that’s thanks to the awesome cast this film gathered. Ms. Weaver especially is amazing, and she should have no problem getting that Oscar nomination and if the win comes, I think it would be deserving, though honestly I’ve still to check out any of the aforementioned two contending performances, but still, hers is still one commanding performance. Her character is the more complex one of the story, and Ms. Weaver seems to understand every single one of the layers Smurf has to perfection. And the rest of the cast is also amazing, Mr. Pearce rocks it, Mr. Frecheville, who plays J., does a fantastic job as the kid in a tough man’s world, just trying to make it out alive and narrates this film to perfection. Simply put this is just a seriously incredible film through and through, Animal Kingdom is one of the better debuts to come out in a while, and will surely fascinate every one who watches it.

Grade: A